By Tom Phelan, Sunday Politics | 03/03/18 01:05:24With the rise of regional identity, the focus of the new generation of leaders has shifted from the nation-state and its global context to the region.
A series of high-profile leaders in the US, Australia and South Africa have highlighted the importance of regional identities in their countries’ development, with South Africa’s Jacob Zuma leading the way in the wake of the country’s failed elections last year.
With these leaders, the rise in regionalism has become increasingly important.
The first generation in their minds is not the nation or a country but a region, and the leaders are trying to tap into that feeling in order to make their nations more successful.
In the US and Australia, this has seen a shift in the way they view regionalism.
Instead of seeing themselves as globalists, the first generation see themselves as localists and they want to see their nations become more diverse and more vibrant.
And that’s exactly what they’ve been doing.
This new generation sees regionalism as an important element of regionalisation, particularly in the region of Africa.
But this new generation is also embracing an old, traditional and even racist tradition of regional nationalism.
It is, after all, in the context of colonialism, which led to a period of racism, discrimination and exploitation in many parts of the world.
These old regionalist traditions are no longer a relic, they are a part of our history, said Dr John Seddon, an international relations professor at the University of Exeter.
“In this sense, the regionalisation of the 20th century has been a continuation of colonialism and, of course, the United States and Australia have continued to make great strides in this regard.
So the idea of a new regionalism does not appear to be very far-fetched,” he said.
However, Dr Seddin said the current generation of region leaders may have a long way to go in understanding the complex relationships between nations and regions, especially given the fact that their grandparents had to grow up as slaves.
Dr Sedda said he believes the rise and spread of regionalisms was a reflection of how much people are aware of their own history and heritage, especially as the population grows.
He said the rise was also driven by the fact people are moving from cities and suburbs to cities and towns, and that they feel a sense of belonging and belonging is at the core of the regional identity they hold.
There are also strong feelings of pride for regions that have been overlooked by other regions, he said, which is likely to help these leaders build a sense that they are part of the region, he added.
As people in the new region look to their past, Dr Seidon said there are strong feelings that they should not just be happy to have their own country, but proud to be part of a region.
He said this would also be reflected in how people in new countries see themselves, including their neighbours and people in other regions.
For example, in South Africa, there is a strong sense of pride in having a distinct culture and identity.
To help people see this, Dr Kibbi has started a new national day in South African towns called the National Day of Regionalism in which residents are encouraged to show off their regional pride.
Other countries are following suit.
While Australia is celebrating the centenary of its colonial rule, in China, the centennial is now marking the centenaries of the first world wars and the Chinese civil war.
Meanwhile, the UK, New Zealand and France are commemorating the 20 years of British colonial rule.
Australia’s leaders have also made a number of regional trips in recent years.
Last year, former prime minister Julia Gillard visited South Africa and the US in a bid to bring the continent together.
Then, in April this year, US President Donald Trump announced his intention to withdraw the United Kingdom from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal and to replace it with the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).
The new generation in the Americas has also taken the lead in creating regional identities.
In the US this has included the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival in March, the inaugural National Day in Texas and the annual Pride Festival in August.
President Trump has also pledged to work with the leaders of the Philippines, Ecuador and Venezuela to combat climate change.
Yet, Dr D’Alesandro said there was a strong feeling in the leaders’ countries that their nations had not been well-served by their leaders in Washington.
They felt that their governments had not done enough to ensure their people were better off, he explained.
That’s why they have started to look for ways to make this happen, he concluded.
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